Drinking and driving is a major offense that has serious consequences. If you are caught drinking and driving, you could be facing fines, court appearances and even jail time. When you are stopped for drunk driving, you will receive either a DWI or a DUI. A DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and includes not only alcohol, but drugs as well, and a DUI stands for driving under the influence. Both of these are serious offenses and all who are stopped for a DWI or DUI will undergo similar treatment.
As soon as you are stopped and an officer suspects drinking or other substance is involved, you will be taken to the nearest police station. A police officer only needs a suspicion for this to occur and while many may perform sobriety tests on the spot, some will make the decision without these tests. Once you arrive at the station, you can either be bailed out or will be required to stay and sober up, depending on the state you were arrested in. At the same time of your arrest, the police officer will hand you a ticket. This ticket will state the day you must appear in court.
After your initial time at the police station, you will return home until your set court date. During the trial, you will stand before a jury who will hear your case. You can choose to plead guilty or not guilty during this time.
If you do plead, or are proven, guilty, you will face a variety of consequences:
- Suspended license: all states suspend a driver’s license if a person is drunk driving or driving while intoxicated. Some states allow drivers to continue to drive to and from work or school. The period of time that your license is suspended depends on your court case, your state and the outcome of your trial. If you do not cooperate with police on the scene, for example, you refuse to take the field sobriety test; your license can be suspended before your court hearing.
- Fines & fees: Even if no one was hurt and no property was damaged, all DWI and DUI cases come with a fine. The fines can be hefty and will vary depending on state-set maximums and minimums. If there was an accident that involved damage or injury, the fines will be much larger as you will have to pay out compensation.
- Driving school: Before you can get your license back, you must attend driving school and complete an alcohol and drug education program.
- Auto insurance increase: A special type of insurance is needed after a DUI or DWI called a SR-22. This type of insurance is usually double or even triple the amount a driver pays for regular insurance and is usually required for about three years.
- Jail time: Possibly the most alarming consequence of a DUI or DWI is the possibility of jail time. Some states now require jail time for drunk driving offenders. If you are a first time offender, you may be looking at a few days while repeat offenders or those involved in a deadly crash will face much more.
If you were pulled over and given a DUI or DWI, you will need an attorney on your side to fight for your rights and avoid long jail times and hefty fees. For more information about how the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart can help you after a DUI or DWI, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.